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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘report’

Report: Kerry’s Push for Iran Bank Transactions Defies Obama Administration Guidelines

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

At an awards ceremony in London on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that there are clear guidelines set by the Obama administration to protect banks doing business with Iran from American sanctions, even if the money they pour into Iran ends up in the accounts of entities that are still being sanctioned. According to The Weekly Standard, citing Republicans in Congress, that statement is disturbingly misleading, and reflects a fight that’s going on inside the Obama Administration.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl) told the Standard that Kerry “appears to be more concerned with acting as Iran’s de facto trade representative than criticizing the regime for taking hostages, not coming clean on Bob Levinson’s case, and supporting terrorists attacking the United States.”

The senator warned US companies about the financial risks involved in doing business with Iran, especially the Revolutionary Guard, whose “tentacles are pervasive throughout the Iranian economy.”

“That’s the opposite of what Treasury Undersecretary [Adam] Szubin said a few weeks ago,” writes Omri Ceren, who notes that Szubin, discussing the same guidelines Kerry was alluding to, said there is “an enhanced level of due diligence” regarding doing business with Iran, asserting that the US would continue to impose “the most draconian sanctions in our toolkit” on firms that get caught working with the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC).

According to the Washington Free Beacon, tensions have been brewing between State and the Treasury over the Administration efforts to boost Iran’s economy with unprecedented access to US money: should US banks be held accountable if by following Kerry’s urgings they stumble over Szubin’s harsh restrictions. Can the US President allow this kind of yawning gap between the positions of two of his top departments?

The rest of this story is dedicated to the Kerry haters in the crowd… At the Chatham House Prize ceremony in London on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry praised his award co-recipient, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (who didn’t show up), saying: “I want to make it clear that Javad is a very tough, very capable negotiator, a patriot all the time, who fought hard for his nation’s interests, while always trying to find a constructive way to solve the problems that we both understood were gigantic hurdles for both of our countries, for both of our people, for our politics, and the divisions that exist at home for each of us.”

Yes, one man’s heartfelt praise is another man’s clear example of Stockholm Syndrome, especially in light of Kerry’s praise for supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at that same awards event: “I think ultimately to the credit of the ayatollah and Iran, they made a fundamental decision they were willing to submit to the scrutiny and give up that [nuclear] program.”

Give up the program? More like suspend some of it for about four years, according to mainstream media reports.

And while praising those two promoters of global and regional terrorism, Kerry took a last-chance swipe at Prime Minister Netanyahu, for his failed opposition to the nuclear deal. “There were powerful forces,” Kerry said, “that were deeply opposed to this. I mean, it’s not often that a prime minister of another country comes to the Congress, and in the middle of the Congress speaks against the sitting president’s policy. That happened, and you can imagine the forces that were unleashed as a result, and the tension that existed.”

To sum up: In John Kerry’s feverish mind, Iran’s murderous leaders are the good guys, deserving of lavish investments from US banks, even if some of the money goes to Iranian groups that scheme to annihilate the country led by Netanyahu, the bad guy.

Can’t wait for Friday, January 20, when this bad dream officially ends.

David Israel

Report: Justice Minister ‘Simplifying’ Supreme Court Appointments

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) is working on changing the process of appointing Supreme Court justices, according to a Tweet by journalist Amit Segal (Channel 2 News). According to Segal, Shaked is using the good services of MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu), promoting a new bill that eliminates the need for a special majority to appoint Supreme Court judges, and also eliminates the need for approval for the appointments from the sitting members of the Supreme Court.

According to Segal, Shaked has informed both Court President Miriam Naor and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the move, which comes ahead of the replacement of a quarter of the high court judges.

Israel’s constitutional law on selecting judges assigns the appointments of new judges to a nine-member Judicial Appointments Committee, as follows:

The committee is headed by the Justice Minister (Shaked), as well as one other minister chosen by the government — the most recent choice has been Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu). It also includes two MKs, traditionally one from the coalition and the other from the opposition — however, currently they are MK Nurit Koren (Likud) and Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu), the latter, having been in the opposition earlier, has now moved over with his boss, Avigdor Liberman, to the coalition. To remind you, Ilatov is the author of the new proposed rules for picking new judges.

In addition there are two members of the Bar (this time one is Jewish, the other Arab), the president of the high court and two high court judges.

The committee requires a simple majority to appoint judges below the Supreme Court level; but a law enacted by then Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar in 2008 requires a special majority of 7 out of 9 committee members, or 2 fewer than the overall number of members in attendance (6 out of 8, 5 out of 7).

Historically, the three Supreme Court representatives aligned with the members of the Bar, as well as with the opposition MK, to push their own candidates, and the special majority requirement guaranteed their ability to torpedo the ones of whom they disapproved. Shaked is looking to erase this unfair advantage, then use the fact that both MKs on the committee are from the coalition to appoint four rightwing judges in 2017, with a simple 5-4 majority.

David Israel

Report: 3 MKs, IDF General Were KGB Agents

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Three Knesset members, senior IDF officers (including one member of the IDF General Staff), engineers who worked on classified projects such as the Lavi supersonic warplane and the Merkava tank, as well as intelligence officers in sensitive positions, have been exposed as KGB agents by documents to be revealed by the daily Yediot Aharonot this Friday.

The secret documents have been copied over a period of 20 years by Vasili Mitrokhin, a former senior KGB agent, who hid his work in milk jugs under his vacation home in a suburb of Moscow. In the early 1990s, Mitrokin contacted the West and he, his family and his milk jugs were transported to the UK. The revelations in these documents were a harsh blow to the Soviet spy network, exposing an estimated one thousand KGB agents around the world. Those documents included revelations about KGB activity inside Israel, and Yediot has now received some of them from a secret archive at Cambridge.

One of those KGB spies in Israel’s highest echelons was MK Elazar Granot, a socialist leader who served on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and was privy to Israel’s military secrets. The KGB also employed a senior engineer in Israel’s national water project in the 1950s and 60s, and even a senior agent in the GSS counter intelligence dept.

According to Yediot, the KGB’s highest prize was the recruitment of an IDF general who was member of the General Staff. When he was exposed, in 1993, the high ranking was already terminally ill and the powers that be decided not to prosecute. They likely did not relish the exposure either. He died shortly afterwards.

David Israel

Report: Hamas Terrorist Killed in Tunnel Collapse During ‘Mission’

Monday, October 24th, 2016

A member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, was killed in Gaza on Monday after an underground tunnel collapsed on him, Ma’an reported. The al-Qassam Brigades released a statement saying one of their fighters, Amir Jaber Abu Tuima from the town of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, died during a “mission” when the tunnel collapsed.

The announcement did not specify the nature of the mission, which was most likely digging a terror tunnel.

On Saturday another al-Qassam terrorist was killed in a tunnel collapse. Ma’an acknowledged that a considerable number of Gaza Arabs have been killed in the “vast tunnel networks that lie below the besieged enclave,” which is dedicated to commercial and military smuggling in the south and future terrorist kidnapping in the north.

Last Saturday morning, the head of the Egyptian army’s Ninth Armored Division was assassinated for his role in destroying tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip by filling them with water.

The smuggling tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and flow of weapons and commercial goods from the Sinai, including food, medicine, and infrastructure materials. The latter are being used mostly for digging military tunnels into Israeli territory.

The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas suffered 160 deaths under collapsing tunnels since 2007. In August 2014, al-Jazeera cited 400 as the updated figure for tunnel collapse casualties.

Ma’an cited a UN report from September suggesting the damage from the three clashes between Hamas and Israel since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, including the destruction of local water, sanitation, energy, and medical facilities, together with a slow reconstruction (as Hamas is usurping the building material for building terror tunnels), will render Gaza “uninhabitable” by 2020.

JNi.Media

Report: S. Korean Military May Lease Israeli Reconnaissance Satellite

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

South Korea may lease a reconnaissance satellite from Israel to obtain information on North Korea’s military activities, military officials told the Yonhap news agency Tuesday. Currently, South Korea relies on US reconnaissance satellites for military information on the North’s nuclear and missile-related maneuvers.

“The military is expected to have its own surveillance satellites as early as 2023 that will allow Seoul to closely monitor military activities in North Korea,” a ministry official said, adding that this “is years behind the defense ministry’s original schedule to deploy five surveillance satellites between 2021 and 2022 as part of the country’s ‘kill chain’ strike system to deal with missile threats from the North.”

Faced with increasing nuclear and missile threats by the North, the government is looking to lease a reconnaissance satellite from Israel or other foreign countries, the official said.

Last September Israel launched the Ofek 11 satellite, with better spying capabilities than its predecessors, such as following targets with a higher efficiency and accuracy than previous spy satellites.

Pyongyang has conducted five nuclear tests in the past decade and launched a series of missiles, including an intermediate-range ballistic missile which is believed to be capable of reaching US territories in the Pacific like Guam.

JNi.Media

Global Competitiveness Report Gives Israel High Marks for Innovation [video]

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Each year, the World Economic Forum releases its Global Competitiveness Report, examining data on the soundness, resilience, sophistication and innovation of businesses in each country to compile evaluations of the economy of 138 countries, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.

The 2016-2017 edition highlights that declining openness is threatening growth and prosperity. It also highlights that monetary stimulus measures such as quantitative easing are not enough to sustain growth and must be accompanied by competitiveness reforms. Final key finding points to the fact that updated business practices and investment in innovation are now as important as infrastructure, skills and efficient markets.

“Declining openness in the global economy is harming competitiveness and making it harder for leaders to drive sustainable, inclusive growth,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

On the Global Competitiveness Index for 2016–2017, Israel is ranked in 24th place, behind Switzerland, Singapore, the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, the UK, Hong Kong and Japan, and directly behind Ireland in 23rd place. In last year’s report, Israel was ranked 27th. UAE in 16th place and Qatar in 18th are the other two Middle Eastern countries in the top 25, but for Qatar the ranking represents a 4-point drop from last year’s report.

Among other areas, the World Economic Forum looks at innovation, taking into account the quality of scientific research, company spending on Research and Development, ties between academia and industry, the number of patents, and the number of engineers and scientists in each country. In the index for innovation and sophistication factors, Israel is ranked in 2nd place (the US is 4th), with Switzerland in first place.

In innovation capacity, Israel is 9th, Switzerland 1st, the US 6th.

In business dynamism, Israel is ranked 19th, right behind Canada (the US is in first place, Germany 10th).

The most problematic factors for doing business in Israel, according to the report (in descending order): inefficient government bureaucracy, high tax rates, policy instability, an inadequately educated workforce, problems in access to financing, excessive tax regulations, and restrictive labor regulations.

Israel’s least problematic issues: little corruption (who would have thunk, right?), capacity to innovate (there’s plenty), work ethic in national labor force (Israelis work like horses), crime and theft (very low), inflation (non-existent), and public health (Israel has one of the best public health programs in the West).

According to the International Monetary Fund, Israel’s GDP is $296.1 billion, GDP per capita $35,343.3

The Middle East and North Africa region continues to experience significant instability in geopolitical and economic terms as spillover effects from the conflicts in Libya, Syria, and Yemen are undermining economic progress in the entire region.

Instability is also being created by the uncertain future of energy prices after recent falls, which affect the region’s countries in different ways. Oil-exporting countries—which include Algeria (87th), Bahrain (48th), the Islamic Republic of Iran (76th), Kuwait (38th), Oman (66th), Qatar (18th), Saudi Arabia (29th), the United Arab Emirates (16th), and Yemen (138th)—are experiencing lower growth, higher fiscal deficits, and rising concerns about unemployment. Growth in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies averaged 5.2 percent between 2000 and 2012, but fell to 2.5 percent in 2015. The forecast for 2016 is also 2.5 percent, and rising oil supplies are  expected to keep prices low and limit growth expectations for the coming years.

JNi.Media

Report: US, Egypt, Asking PA Not to Approach UN Security Council before US Elections

Friday, October 21st, 2016

The US and Egypt, which is a temporary member of the UN Security Council, have recently passed on messages to the Palestinian Authority leadership asking them not to promote any move against Israel until after the Nov. 8 elections in the US, Ha’aretz reported, citing a senior PA source. The source claimed there have been several messages, direct and indirect—through Arab and Western go-betweens, warning that the US would veto any anti-Israel move initiated prior to the elections, including condemnation of the settlement enterprise.

The source noted that, despite their “dissatisfaction” with these requests, the PA leadership will restrain itself and avoid any UNSC move until after the elections. However, as soon as voting in the US is over, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is determined to accelerate his plan to promote an anti-settlements vote at the council, the source said. The same PA official admitted, however that “so far there has been no agreement on the final draft and we are not clear what the American position would be.”

Sources inside Abbas’s office have told Ha’aretz that the chairman’s recent contacts with US officials, including a meeting with Sec. John Kerry, have not created the impression that the Administration is planning to initiate a UNSC move, or even support another member country’s initiative. “We have no illusions or expectations that the Americans would not veto or torpedo a proposal submitted to the UNSC,” a senior Palestinian official said. “We also haven’t heard of an outline being worked on or any proposal to be put forth in the future. All we hear are ideas.”

A month ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he “hoped” President Obama would not seek to establish a Palestinian state at the UN. Asked if Obama had promised him that he would not seek to establish a state of Palestine without Israel’s cooperation before the end of his term in January, Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post: “If you’re asking if he spoke to me about this, the answer is no. If you’re asking me if I am hoping that he won’t do this, the answer is yes.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-us-egypt-asking-pa-not-to-approach-unsc-before-nov-8/2016/10/21/

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